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Do I Even Need a Lawyer?

Almost without exception, one of the first things we hear from a prospective client in the initial telephone consultation is, "I don't even know if I need a lawyer. Do you think I need a lawyer?" Without exception, our response is, "The insurance company already has a lawyer protecting its interests. Who's protecting yours?"

Let's start with one of the primary questions people have about hiring a lawyer: "What is this going to cost me to hire you?" The answer: NOTHING. Legal fees in workers compensation cases are paid on a contingency basis. That means there are NO fees unless there is a recovery. If there is a recovery, we retain no more than 25% and if taking our portion out results in a net recovery to you that is less than you could have received without an attorney, we cut our fee. This is our Guarantee. "What about litigation expenses?" Our firm advances those expenses and then is reimbursed ONLY if there is a recovery. If there is no settlement or award, we eat the expense. There is nothing that ever comes out of your pocket for the duration of our representation of you. Period.

In the meantime, the insurance company currently controlling your claim and your recovery already has a team of lawyers and doctors at its disposal. The fact of the matter is that oftentimes, the insurance company has "in-house" counsel, lawyers that are employed by the insurance company itself. Their desks are often right down the hall from the claims representative's desk and they are available all day long for legal questions and strategy. With great confidence, we can assure you that they are not trying to figure out how to maximize your benefit recovery. The insurance company lawyer's job is to see if there is a feasible way to a) deny your claim, or b) minimize your benefits.

One big advantage of having a lawyer is, quite frankly, your benefit recovery is greater than that of an unrepresented claimant. As an example, shortly after the Missouri Legislature overhauled their workers compensation statutes in 2005, The Missouri Lawyers Weekly did a survey of the average settlement before and after the statutory changes. The survey was cited in an article published on www.allbusiness.com and stated:

According to Division of Workers' Compensation figures, represented workers in the year before the law change earned average settlements that were 38 percent, or $5,600, larger than those who were pro se (unrepresented). However, the gap has widened, with represented workers in the year after the law change getting average settlements that were 49 percent, or $7,300, more on average than those of pro se workers.

Source: http://www.allbusiness.com

That is $7300 unrepresented claimants, on average, are LEAVING on the table just because they did not want to hire an attorney. Even before the changes, there was a huge difference between the recoveries of represented and unrepresented injured workers and it has only gotten worse since then.

Another advantage to having an experienced and aggressive workers' compensation attorney working for you is that we know how to get the system working for you. "Delay" is the most common complaint we hear from people with claims for which the insurance company has "agreed" to pay benefits. In our experience, the mere presence of an attorney has improved the handling of a claim. The claims representative has many files to handle, often too many files to handle. Unrepresented claimants frequently get pushed aside in favor of their represented counterparts. This is because the claims representative knows that any delay of benefits, including medical treatment or lost time, for a represented claimant will result in being hauled into court to explain the delay, resulting in additional expense on the part of the insurance company. If you were the claims representative, which file are you more likely to ignore: the represented claimant for which delay will cost money or the unrepresented claimant for which delay will only result in another telephone message to ignore?

While there are times where an injured worker does not NEED a lawyer, it is never unreasonable to have one and it is always advisable to at least TALK to one. Contacting a workers' compensation lawyer at Haight Stang LLC doesn't cost you a cent. If you truly do not need a lawyer we will honestly tell you and leave it to you whether you want to retain one anyway. However, it you take a look at our "Guarantee" and our "Pledge", there is literally no downside to hiring a Kansas City workers compensation attorney who's sole purpose is to protect your rights and maximize your recovery. As you read this, you can be assured that the insurance company already has lawyers on its side. So, who's on your side? Contact Haight Stang LLC today.


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